Friday, February 23, 2024

Cleanest House on the Block

That would be our house … cleanest house on the block. Why? Because everything was pretty much in tip top shape and freshly painted, scrubbed, wiped, etc etc (you get the idea) when the house went on the market last week. And then, almost every day since we have had lookers and re-lookers. So we go through the process of wiping down counters and floors, turning on lights, making beds and putting away clutter and personal things. And then the housekeeper was here yesterday, too. When agents schedule a showing, which they do through an online app, we have several hours or even a couple days’ notice. And we go through the cleaning and prep process again, sometimes twice a day. About ten minutes before their scheduled time, we leave the premises and do something. Sometimes we run errands. We’ve sat in the parking lot of a local shopping center reading our tablets several times. On Saturday for the Open House, we entertained ourselves by going to The Aquarium. I have pictures of that to show you for a change of pace. 

The first thing we saw was this huge structure, called the EECO Voyager. It is a virtual reality exhibit that you can attend and see the various world ecosystems through. We had already missed the once daily showing, so we just went indoors to visit the various sea life and other creatures. 

I won’t bore you with all the pictures I took, but I’ll show you a few of my favorites.


Giant Clam. Notice the nozzle-thing (technical term) through which it filter feeds.

Obviously, the is RAY Charles - he’s smiling and “into” the blues…

Looks like “Sugar Ray” to me with those white spots (wink)

OK, OK, I’ll stop with the eye-roll-worthy humor and get to the sewing stuff now. You’re welcome.

This week for Round 5 of the Stay at Home Round Robin, our hostess Gail of Quilting Gail called “4” as the challenge or theme for the round. She explained that we should use an element of the number 4 to guide our additions; a star with four points (think Friendship Star), four colors, or whatever. I decided to make Rail Fence blocks with four fabrics/colors for my border.  

Although I had no more of that center parrot fabric, I tried to use all the colors of that print, including pulling in some black background prints that had the cheddar and orange in them. The strips were cut at 1.5x4.5” to make blocks that will finish at 4”. I did have to add a few extra strips as coping strips since the measurements weren’t necessarily divisible by 4. But it worked out. The quilt top now measures 39x45.5”, with one more round to go. I can’t wait!!

In between house showings (and cleaning and laundry and errands), I managed to pin baste my secret sewing quilt. I am determined to get it quilted on Sunday. Reveal will be March 6.

And we can’t forget the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. For Red February, I added four simple 8” windmills to the collection. 

And finally, I snapped this picture on a blustery and rainy Monday, which was Presidents Day here in the USA. 

As for the house sale, we’ve had one ridiculous offer. It was from investors looking to flip the house and make a quick buck. We were told to expect at least one of those. We basically ignored it and let the response deadline expire. I would’ve preferred a “Not only No, but HELL NO” response, but it’s easier just to ignore those types. The good news is that there are two different families who have visited the house twice, one couple staying an hour on their last visit. And more showings scheduled for this weekend. We expect we’ll have a real offer soon.  I certainly hope so, as we have made an offer (and it has been accepted) for a condo here in Murray, about six blocks away. But it’s contingent on getting and accepting an offer on this house within the next three weeks. Hold a good thought for us!

Friday, February 16, 2024

When the Going Gets Tough . . .

When the going gets tough, the tough have to take a one-week break from blogging. So, last Saturday I was finishing up the painting I needed to do on the house - 2 bedrooms, baseboards and a kitchen wall. We also had our contractor here adding baseboards to a closet I never finished, and fixing a leak in one of the storage sheds. The photographers were here on Monday. One took aerial photos and the other took interior photos, and we were fortunate enough to have sunshine that day. The listing went live on the Multiple Listing Service on Tuesday, and I was a crying basket case the entire day (stress relief?) The home showings started on Wednesday. We’ve had 3 showings so far (Friday night as I write this) and have an Open House scheduled for tomorrow. As well, there are 4 additional showings scheduled over the next three days plus a notice from one broker to be expecting an offer already this weekend. Head = spinning. 

But the good news (or should I say Additional Good News?) is that I actually got some relaxing sewing time in this week. Some of it is secret sewing (whose reveal date is on March 6), but much of it is Rainbow Scrap Challenge sewing. 

Finished: two 12” Star blocks. I love these so much! These were done week before last. 

This week I sewed 18 string blocks at 6.5”. No plans yet for them. I’ll be linking up to Scrappy Saturday when that link party goes live in the morning. 

I’ve also been keeping up with the Stay at Home Round Robin (SAHRR). Here was my progress from week before last - Triangles, as called by Emily for Round 3. 

And then this week, Brenda at Songbird Designs called Square-in-a-Square (aka economy blocks). 

So, I am current with this, too! Yay! 🎉. I can’t remember the size of the top offhand, and I’m ready for bed and am NOT going down to the studio to check it. I think it’s 30-something by 40-something at this point, with two more rounds to go. 

By this time next week we hope to have a sold home, a newly purchased condo, and be well on our way back to sanity. Oh wait, then there will be packing and moving. Oh well, sanity is overrated anyway….

Friday, February 2, 2024

How to Pass Winter in the Blink of an Eye

Yeah, I know there’s plenty of winter left here in the Northern Hemisphere. But it did feel like spring for several days here this week, which is like an unplanned vacation in my book. I actually was able to get out in the yard for a couple hours on two days to spray weeds and do some garden spring cleanup.

And the winter really is flying by, helped by the relentlessly-approaching mid-February deadline (self-imposed, but now set in stone by a date with a photographer) to get the house photographed for the MLS listing. So let me gab for a few paragraphs about that before we turn to the meager sewing I got done this week! 

Last Saturday my son Ryan and DDIL Kim came over and helped us take stuff out to the backyard junk heap. We had lovely, sunny weather. Then we shuffled desks, bookcases, beds, etc. to make the three upstairs bedrooms more presentable (staging the house for showings). Kim and I hung or re-hung photos, put out fresh greenery and bedding, etc. Then we relaxed and went out to dinner and just had fun. 

On Monday I went to get my annual cortisone shots in my shoulder, so I didn’t do any wall painting this week per doctors orders. Oh, and we got the credit pre-approval process done with the title company we’ll be dealing with. I arranged for the windows and screens to be cleaned on Tuesday, inside and out. We also scheduled the junk dealer to come on Tuesday. They hauled away so much stuff, and the beauty of it is that they will donate/recycle anything useable (bookshelves, some electronic equipment, wood, etc. So on Tuesday all of that - windows and junk removal - happened according to plan. Big sigh of relief. I still have some furniture to give away and will be posting those photos to the community website later this weekend. 

Later in the week, we looked at a condo, made an offer, then spent a restless night of dread, realizing the work that needed to be done on the new place was not what we wanted. We don’t need a renovation project, just a future home. So we rescinded our offer before the sellers had a chance to respond. In so doing, I came to realize that I’m overly anxious about this process of timing the selling of this home with the buying of a condo. Basically, I’ve never done it before! When I was married to my first husband, we built the two homes we lived in. When Bruce and I got together 22 years ago, we rented this house for the first six months. We fell in love with it and bought it. Easiest “move” we ever had; went to the title company as renters and returned home as owners. 

So, all that to say that my sewing time was precious little this week. My first priority, however, was adding the second border to my SAHRR (Stay at Home Round Robin) piece.  

Also, I’d like to apologize to everyone who left comments last week. I read and appreciated every single one, but never got around to answering any. Shame on me. I’m thinking maybe sleep time is overrated, 

This week was Anja’s turn to call out the next round, and she chose “two colors” as the challenge. I wanted to pull out some orange from the center area, so chose orange and white as the two colors for my next round. 

That bottom edge looks a little wavy, which happens with borders if you’re not careful. But it might be my pinning. Either way, it will be corrected before the next round.  I’m linking to the SAHRR link-up for Round Two  at Anja’s blog

I didn’t forget my beloved Rainbow Scrap Challenge this week, no matter how busy I was. But truth be told, it took next to no time to whip out these Color Stix blocks by Cynthia Brunz in February’s RSC color of the month, red. 

The Color Stix quilt, when completed, will be sent to Cynthia Brunz for her Compassion Quilt drive. 

And in case you were wondering (or even remembered) about my personal Quilt Kit Challenge, I did not finish the third January quilt yet. It, along with the “green strings and blobs” quilt top I made still need to be basted and quilted. But they have backings and are ready for their turns under the needle. 

But that didn’t stop me (and Ruby and Cousin Kim) from picking the numbers for my three quilt challenge packets for February. The numbers we picked were 15, 21 and 22.  Here are the corresponding bags of scraps and yardages: 

On Kit #15, which is another bag of 2.5” strips I coordinated at some point, I am so tempted to do another quilt where I merely sew the strips together along the long edges, like the one I did last month. It would show a total lack of creativity on my part, but desperate times call for desperate measures. On the other hand, if there are too many (I haven’t even counted yet), I could do a simple rail fence quilt which would be easy and fun. I guess we’ll find out soon enough.

So tomorrow (Saturday) we are going to an Open House for a move-in ready townhouse in nearby Holladay here in the Salt Lake Valley. And then a stop at Target for another comforter and Home Depot. I will also be spackling holes in two walls of our downstairs office/bedroom in preparation for painting next week. 

There is a light at the end of this house-prep tunnel - I can see it! Or is that an oncoming train?

Friday, January 26, 2024

Hectic Week

This week was so busy that I hardly got any sewing done. Really, I mean it this time! :-) I do have the last of my Rainbow Scrap Challenge blocks to show you for January’s color of bright and dark green and the first round of my Stay at Home Round Robin (SAHRR).  But first I have to whine. (Anyone have some cheese to go with that?)

We have moved from Moderate House Prep Mode into Full-on Ninja House Prep Mode. That means my top priority this week was coordinating a family work day for tomorrow (Saturday), emptying desks and bookshelves that will be moved or given away. I also painted a bedroom and closet. I’m trying to pace myself on the painting. In the next week I’ll be prepping 2 walls and painting in our downstairs office/bedroom.  The week after I’ll do the touch-up on one kitchen wall and baseboards around the house. We’re trying to get ready ASAP for the photographer to come so our listing can finally go live around mid-February. In the meantime, we’ve been looking at locations and condos/townhouses and have found one that we like. But will it still be there in another week or two when we get pre-qualified for a bridge loan while this house is on the market? Who knows. I have to focus on what I can control and let go of the rest for now. 

So, color me surprised that I even have anything to show you! First up, let’s take a look at the first round of the SAHRR.

Our hostess for Round One is Wendy of Peaceful Quilts. Wendy called for us to use the traditional Signature Block (also known as Indian Hatchet).  At Wendy’s link-up, you can see all the fun additions that the participants have sewn for this first round. This is what mine looks like.

It measures 18.5 x 24” at this point, so I’ll probably combine a couple rounds into one as I move forward, which we totally can do. But we’ll see what is called for the next round. I would like this to end up at roughly 40-45” wide and 50-55” long, so I’ll be keeping that in mind moving forward.

My final blocks for Green January in the Rainbow Scrap Challenge are these simple Windmill blocks. Simple, that is, until you get rockin’ out to some Billy Joel music and lose track of what you’re doing and sew three of nine blocks backwards. *Cough, cough*. But that’s OK, I fixed ‘em. And Billy was totally worth the effort! Hey, did you hear that he has a new single being released on February 1? It’s called Turn the Lights Back On).

So, that’s it for my week. I’ll be linking up to Scrappy Saturday when that link goes live.  And if you’d like to come over and help me paint, don’t be bashful!  I invited my entire Weight Watchers workshop over to help me paint this week, and would you believe no one took me up on it? Serves them right because a good time was had by all. And by all, I mean me (wink).

Have a good week, friends!

Saturday, January 20, 2024

Frozen in Place

This week has been a bit of a low-key crawl through days. Cold, rain, snow, ice, wind. Cousin Carrie, who was diagnosed in the early autumn with pancreatic and liver cancer lost her battle with cancer on Monday night. That pretty much set the tone for the week (along with Mother Nature). We’re all still trying to take it in. This afternoon there will be a family pot luck gathering at her daughter Jenny’s house where we can all come together and just be with each other. 

So this week’s accomplishments are limited. On Monday during the day (before we learned of Carrie’s last hours), I ran around buying paint and new welcome mats, visiting the pet store (new litter box for the cats), going home store shopping for decorator accent pieces and cushions for staging the house, and going to Costco to get gas for the car and buying a case of tissues for Bruce’s never-ending cold. Or whatever it is. He went to Instacare yesterday and they were stumped. *sigh*

On Tuesday, I sewed and did laundry and vegetated. On Wednesday, Cousin Kim (Carrie’s sister) and I met up, went to a coffee shop and drank coffee and talked all morning. I took her home (her car was getting serviced) and came home from her place with lots of new empty boxes for future packing…

On Thursday I deep cleaned some rooms of the house - in preparation for moving around some furniture - and some sewing. Yesterday (Friday) was grocery shopping and lots of paperwork. 

So, I’ll show you what little I have. 

I sewed three more blocks for the Anne quilt I’m making for a friend. Now I have five done of twenty needed. I had intended to have at least 10 done this week, but oh well.  At least there’s lots of green in the blocks, so I can link up to Scrappy Saturday

And I worked on Scrap Kit #19, pictured here to refresh your memory. 

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Stay at Home Round Robin 2024

After skipping last year (and truly missing it), I am once again participating in the Stay at Home Round Robin (SAHRR). This is a fun annual event hosted by Quilting Gail and five other hostesses in the US and Canada.

This week we’re showing our beginning block, which will become the center of this medallion-style quilt along.  The idea is to begin with a random leftover block from our respective block “orphanages”. Then each week for the next six weeks, one of the hostesses will call out a block or motif (like a star, flying geese, checkerboard) and we’re to add that to our block and grow it into something fabulous. 

I decided to begin with this block that was given to me by our local Quilts for Kids group (it was a donation), since they know I like to play with scraps and exercise my creative bone. This block measures about 12.5” and contains bright kid colors that I’m sure will be easy to supplement from my stash as we move forward.

Bright green, orange, blue and chrome gold (and parrots!) What’s not to love?  There were also three smaller pinwheel blocks given with these fabrics, but I’ll take them apart to have 12 half-square triangles to use. 

The link for this week’s parade of blocks is HERE at Gail’s blog. The rest of the SAHRR schedule is:



Saturday, January 13, 2024

First Finishes of 2024

Woo-hoo! I finished two quilts this week! I’ve had lots and lots of sewing time, thanks to the cold and snowy weather this past week. My friend Ruby and I had planned to have a salmon lunch and then spend a couple hours in her hot tub, but on that day (Thursday), it began snowing like crazy mid-morning - almost whiteout conditions. So we cancelled it for this week. Naturally, by early afternoon it had cleared and the sun was shining.  That’s OK, there’s always next week. And Bruce has been sick this week, so I feel better staying close to home. It’s just a nasty winter cold, but it has zapped all his energy. Yesterday was Day 4, so I expect he’ll be turning a corner this weekend.

Working on the Rainbow Scrap Challenge color of Green (darks and brights) for January, I made some good dents in my green fabric scraps.

I loved these 16-Patch stars that Julie made for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge last year. So, since I’m trying to stick to simple (but good-looking) blocks this year, this one fit the bill perfectly. They assemble quickly, eat up lots of scraps, and allow me more time to work on assembling RSC quilts from previous years’ blocks.

I’ll make a total of 20 of these blocks for a quilt that finishes 48x60”.

You’d think that after sewing 400+ string blocks last calendar quarter, I’d be so over sewing strings. But you’d be wrong. What’s a Rainbow Scrapper to do when she has loads of strings in the color of the month? For me, the answer was to make 28 string block with a contrasting center string while using other 6.5” solid and dark green prints to round out a green quilt top. 

The first three columns are webbed with 4 more to go. I selected the Kona Iced Frappe color (also just a scrap) from my solids bin. It matched the little bit of Tula Pink scrap print and was a nice contrast with the green strings. When I ran out of the Tula print, I added in the 9 plain dark green blocks to finish them off. I love it when there’s *just* enough fabric to use and match. Click on the picture to see the colors better. You can also see that I had to add some dark green slivers to round out several of the print blocks to 6.5” square. 

Well, that quilt top wasn’t in my plans, but I was more than happy to go where the scraps led me, and the result is far fewer green scraps. Win-win!  

But the next two quilts WERE on my radar, and this week I basted, quilted and bound them. They’re coming with me (and three other recent finishes) to the Quilts for Kids workshop this morning. 

First is Chevron Stars, which finished at 40x54”. It was quilted with a vertical serpentine stitch. Last week I said I didn’t have enough of the chevron pieces to make a four-sided border, but I was wrong. We will not discuss how far my quilt math was off…. (wink).

My second finish was this striped number….. 39x46”.

And the backing - 

One of the things I was going through last week (decluttering) was my tub of home decorator prints and trims. Back in the day I used to make and sell Boho Bags. Anyway, I found two pieces of fabric that matched and perfectly fit a small 12x18” pillow form I had. Thirty minutes later, I had a little cushion (that I said last week I would not be sewing). 

I will purchase the rest of the decorator cushions - stripes, textures, etc. to add some zing to our otherwise neutral living room. Color pops of greens and blues should add some interest when it comes to showing the house for sale. I also went through all our paint cans this week and separated the dried up paints (which we’ll take to the city public works building for safe disposal) and labeled all the viable remaining paints. Finally, I made a short list of colors I need to buy to touch up baseboards and a wall or two. 

But back to sewing… two quick things. Next week I will begin putting together the third quilt “kit” whose number I pulled for January. This is kit #19…. and it will likely need plenty of supplementation. I’m really looking forward to playing with this!

I would also like to finish about 8-10 more blocks for the Anne quilt I’ll be gifting (see this post, near the end). And finally, I have some secret sewing to do for a reveal in February, but all I can show you is my color pull and some of the cutting. Stay tuned!

A potential RSC Quilt?.

Have a great week!